Namibia to the world

Mariselle Stofberg
Elizabeth Joseph

WorldSkills Africa

Namibia has been bestowed the right by WorldSkills International to host the second edition of WorldSkills Africa, following the inaugural event staged in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2018.

To date, more than 110 competitors from 13 African countries have registered to take part in WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022, scheduled to take place at the coastal town from 29 March to 2 April 2022

The Zone spoke to Ndjoze-Siririka to shed more light on this activity and its importance for our country.

Siririka said WorldSkills International is a non-political movement, founded in the 1940s and which emerged from a desire to create new employment opportunities for young people in some of the economies devastated by World War II.

"WorldSkills International is a global movement for technical and vocational skills excellence. It also serves as an important capacity-building platform through which member countries can benchmark and work towards improving quality in technical and vocational training," he says.

As a continental conglomeration of the WorldSkills International movement, WorldSkills Africa is positioned within the structures of the African Union.

According to Siririka, the objectives of the Africa conglomeration align with the Agenda 2063 - Africa's blueprint for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development, and through which the company envisions, as African nations, to build an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful continent, driven and managed by Namibian citizens, representing a dynamic force in the global arena.

"It is a vision predicated on the development of Africa's people as its most important resource and one which recognises the transformation potential of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), in leveraging Africa's economies.

“More and more African countries are joining the WorldSkills International fray.

“It is a no-brainer because those countries who have been actively participating in the WorldSkills International framework have benefited immensely from this movement's unreserved access for capacity building and benchmarking.

“They have infused, and continue to infuse, what they are learning from peers, into their standards, arrangements, and systems." he says.

He further says that hosting this continental showpiece and capacity-building platform - staged in partnership with the African Union – aligns with the Namibian government's national long-term strategic objective to leverage the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector, and by extension, support economic prosperity for future generations.

"Indeed, TVET plays a critical role in national development, poverty alleviation, and in providing sustainable livelihoods for all; hence the importance of developing and maintaining an efficient TVET system that can unlock a skilled, qualified workforce."

Competition 101

The Skills Competition is the flagship component, supported by two other components, namely an aptly themed international conference with very relevant sub-thematic themes and a careers exhibition component aimed at introducing learners to viable technical and vocational career options.

"An electrician trainee competes against peers from other training institutions at our two-yearly National Skills Competition and is crowned the winner or Namibian champion. That trainee then participates against the best peers from other African countries. That same trainee can then compete at the two-yearly WorldSkills International competition, as well," Siririka explains.

The conference will include renowned international TVET experts and speakers who are going to engage conferencegoers in generating knowledge, sharing experiences, benchmarking, and innovation.

The themes underlying the discussions include the fourth industrial revolution, gender mainstreaming, quality, and sustainability, in line with the ethos of desirability, feasibility, and viability.

The careers exhibition will have a singular focus on introducing viable career options to learners and parents.

"This is not your typical career fair where front-desk staff shares brochures on training courses. Our focus is on interactivity, simulation, virtual reality, and demonstration. We don't want to tell learners what plumbers or fashion technologists do. On the contrary, we want to show them what they do."

Staging an event of this magnitude comes with a huge responsibility placed on the shoulders of the ministry of higher education, technology and innovation and the Namibia Training Authority, as the implementation partner.

"Our work has started in earnest and we have made strong inroads. The official launch of the event on 8 October 2021 by our line minister, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, aided us in giving more impetus to our work." Siririka said.

NTA is seeking beneficial partnerships with corporate Namibia. The acting CEO notes that they alone cannot do the work, and to achieve their goals, they need the provision of partners that share in their vision of a skilled and industrialised society to guarantee the future of generations to come.

"It is against this background that we are busy engaging corporate Namibia to join this pioneering initiative. WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022 is sure to generate optimal brand exposure for partners in growing their reach in the most populated segment, the youth.

“Partner involvement will also serve as a demonstration of support and commitment to our nation and continent's development goals," he adds.

To date, NTA has secured a significant contribution from the European Union and the German federal ministry of economic development and cooperation.

Partnerships will be announced as soon as they are finalised.

The competition is set for 28 March to 2 April 2022 at The Dome in Swakopmund.